- Purchased 1984
- Oil on hessian
- 920 x 920mm
In the 1950s Tony Fomison developed a close relationship with a group of Maori living near Lake Wairewa (Forsyth) on the road to Akaroa. Although Legend of Murihaka was painted later, when he was living in Auckland, it is the Banks Peninsula landscape that features in this work.
Legend of Murihaka is typical of Fomison’s intense paintings, which are characteristically dark, with simplified forms and dramatic compositions. On the coarsely-textured canvas Fomison has wiped the paint from the surface, leaving only faint stains of colour to create strong contrasts between light and shade.
Fomison was born in Christchurch. He studied sculpture at the University of Canterbury and later travelled on an Arts Advisory Board grant to England and Europe to study the Old Masters. He moved to Auckland in 1973. There he continued his lifelong interest in Maori and Polynesian cultures, which he often incorporated into his work. In 1985 Fomison was the first recipient of the Rita Angus Fellowship. He exhibited throughout New Zealand.